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Silver Linings and Self-Awareness

What an interesting week in the Twilight Zone this has been! One of my leadership coaches put it this way, “what a year this week has been”. It certainly has.


This is the first full week that I worked remotely, from home, at the sweet, temporary work station I set up in my guest room. Even brought my stand up desk! I have had a flood of observations that have both surprised me, and brought me peace, in the midst of the anxiety and fear… silver linings, actually.

Being able to see the positive things, the way of life that I have come to know that has anchored me through other storms and carried me through to safety, have continued to lead me to hope and wellness. This rush of mandates in the midst of a pandemic is no different, although I personally have never experienced something quite like this in my lifetime, thankfully. There was Y2K, but preparation for something that might happen is much different than this intense urgency to stay away from people and shelter-in. And there was the recession in 2008 when I lost my home, but still, there was not the intensity of the fear of sickness, death and uncontrollable outcomes if we all didn’t ban together immediately to remain 6 feet apart.


I think if we can find, and focus on, the surprises, self-awareness, and silver linings, it will help us weather this storm as well. We are going to make it to the other side of this, in time. We must be patient with ourselves and take this unique opportunity to lean into some things we may not normally slow down to take in.


First of all, my reflections on this is certainly not meant to diminish anyone’s hardships whatsoever, in sharing my own silver linings. My own daughter and son have lost their jobs due to this, along with 6 million+ other people as of March 26th, so the hardship does hit close to home for us. Please know that when I share sunny moments, my face is not turned away from those experiencing pain. Finding what we can be thankful for in the midst of hardships though (sometimes this is an intense scavenger hunt) is what I have found to be a reliable force in perspective change and the avenue back to joy. Practicing this daily, for many years, through my own transitions and difficult circumstances, is how I have arrived at being happy just to be happy.


Here’s a wee bit of history – after a 29-year marriage, I am now divorced, an empty-nester, and living alone this past year for the first time in my life. I love living alone. (Of course, that doesn’t mean I want to be alone all the time though, but you get the gist, I mean not having to have a roommate). I am so blessed to be able to have a guest room, and so, my temporary work space was born.


Silver Linings:

  • My job is secure and can be done entirely from home.

  • I have a guest room I was able to convert to a work space utilizing my dining room table.

  • I live in a beautiful neighborhood where I’m taking power walks on my breaks during my work day.

  • Zoom meetings are popping up everywhere for social interaction so we can continue, or even start, to connect with networking groups, friends and family.

  • I’ve been calling and talking with friends and family I haven’t connected with in a while.

Surprises:

  • I love working remotely! I never would have guessed this about myself since relationships are so important to me. What a kick!

  • Learning to utilize, and learn, some tech has not been too difficult (setting up my office, new ways of processing that are online).

  • Aside from needing to manage anxiety occasionally, as everyone is experiencing, I am so much more relaxed.

  • I have been wanting to do indoor workouts for about a year and never started, but for some reason I have been very motivated to exercise more, and this is keeping my mind clear and perspective in order when I exercise every day. I’m actually taking even better care of myself since all this started!

Self-awareness:

  • I noticed I was fear-eating a couple weeks ago. I have been eating really healthy, but definitely more than normal. There have been times when we all have eaten for comfort, or even out of boredom, but when I reflected on this, I realized it was a reaction to the hoarding that had started. I was storing up, in me.

  • Once we knew we were supposed to stay in as much as possible, even a week ago, I began to nest. I was motivated to clean and organize and wanted to go through things to take to Goodwill. I always need to be in the mood for this sort of thing, and all of a sudden I was enjoying it, and I still am. This was definitely a psychological reaction to not knowing how long I would be staying in my apartment. I have already lined the shelves in the kitchen, cleaned out one of the closets, and put a fresh coat of paint on the chalkboard panel on a cabinet. I have several more projects I’m excited to work on.

  • I wondered why it was that I was able to feel more relaxed at home working than in the office, and had a key awareness that my desire to always help people fills my brain space with constant awareness of others in front of me, and their needs, whether or not these are within my scope of work tasks. Just people in front of me, and all around me, sends my mind to concern for them. I’m observing that this is just the way my mind works, but I’m far less distracted and able to focus clearly working from home. It has become easier for me to block time for other things, such as caring for others.

A drowning man can't save another drowning man. We must first take care of ourselves, then we can care for others well.



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